|STATEMENT ON APPEAL AGAINST THE DECISION OF THE WEST SIBERIAN CONFRENCE CONGRESS dated 05/15/2002|
We, the signatories, would like to denounce the violations and the abuse of power committed by the president of ESD /Euro-Asia Division/ A. A. Shtelle, vice-president, Mario Veloso, and the president of Siberian union mission I.F. Khiminets.
The violations were committed in the following areas:
a. West-Siberian Conference regulations
b. Working Policy of ESD
A. Violations of West-Siberian Conference regulations
1. Point 17 of the WSC regulations was roughly broken in the congress under the chairmanship of the Siberian Union mission president, I.F. Khiminets, in consultation with the ESD president, A. A. Shtelle, and vice-president of the ESD, M. Veloso.
2. According to the WSC regulations it is necessary to obtain 2/3 of congress delegates' votes in order to reorganize the existing organization. Despite the lack of votes, WSC was reorganized into two missions.
3. Four people from one region and one individual who was not congress delegate were chosen by the congress chairman to be on the mission administration nominating committee
4. The congress time limit was also violated. The WSC administration reports were heard after the conference was reorganized into two missions. And this procedure, which did not correspond to the program outlined before, influenced the outcome of votes with respect to the reorganization of the conference.
5. The change of the congress agenda was done without the consent of the congress delegates.
B. Violations of ESD Working Policy
1. In the existing ESD Working Policy there is no statement on conference reorganization into two missions. Therefore, the decision about reorganization is an act of unwarranted and uncontrolled arbitrariness of the ESD leadership.
2. If the division declares its decision on the basis of B 30 10, it means the violation of the second issue of this statement because the union did not have any plenipotentiary meeting to discuss this proposal. Thus, it could not approve the decision concerning the formation of about new missions.
3. Point B27 on page 83 of the ESD Working Policy has been violated.
While being present on the nominating committee of the Central Siberian Mission (CSM) and advising it, A. A. Shtele and M. Veloso did not inform it about the existing clause on the Working Policy and did not prevent the promotion of E.T Scheglov, a retired minister, to the office of pastors' association president. And this action runs counter to the regulation adopted by the leadership of the General Conference and Euro-Asia Division.
4. B 65 10 Representative character of church organization.
The true representative character of our organization is described in the book of E.White
"Testimonies for the church" vol.8 pages 236-237, English edition. "Every member of the church has a voice in choosing officers of the church. The church chooses the officers of the state conferences. Delegates chosen by the state conferences choose the officers of the union conferences, and delegates chosen by the union conferences choose the officers of the General Conference. By this arrangement every conference, every institution, every church and every individual, either directly or through representatives, has a voice in the election of the men who bear the chief responsibilities in the General Conference".
On the basis of things mentioned above it is quite clear that every member of the church and every church have the right to choose the church leadership and that is something that differentiates the Seventh Day Adventist Church from the papacy. The Division policy carried out recently contradicts these God inspired words and has deprived the opportunity of every church and individual of the whole East Russian Union, which includes 16661 members, 206 churches and 173 groups through its representatives, to take part in the election of the leadership. This kind of approach has become quite common nowadays in EAD and is being practiced wherever it goes and this fact really troubles us.
C. Moral violations
1. Undemocratic Procedures
The delegates of the congress did not have enough time to discuss the issue of conference reorganization. The chairman of the congress, I. F. Khiminets, proposed to proceed to the voting of this issue immediately after it was introduced by A. A. Shtele and M.Veloso. The
delegates did not have any opportunity to ask questions which troubled them nor to express their doubts regarding the expediency and necessity of this reorganization.
2. Manipulation of Delegates
A. A. Shtele assured ignorant delegates that there was no difference between conference and mission structure. According to his words the only difference is the name. He encouraged them to vote for conference reorganization while clarifying the issue that missions get more financial support and subsidies from the Division and the General Conference. He explained that this formal renaming of the conference into mission gives considerable financial profit.
3. The Deliberate Use of False Statements as a Means of Purposeful Achievement
Groundless mention of specific financial support and possible subsidies for the mission
were just powerful means to influence the delegates decision and that is a violation of tenth commandment.
4. Suppression of the Delegates Free Speech
The delegates willing to ask question or introduce their opinions, which was quite different from the leadership's point of view, hardly managed to take the floor in this congress. The chairman of the congress insisted on terminating the discussion and taking a vote. According to his words the discussion would lead to the breaking of church unity. Thus, the main right of the local church has been violated; i.e. to express its opinion through the delegates as its representatives.
5. The Use of Official Position to Exert Pressure
Any statement of doubts regarding the expediency of reorganization of the current and well developing West-Siberian conference into two missions through specific questions were accompanied by sharp criticism by the congress chairman, I. F. Khiminets. He declared these statements as a revolt against church unity and a rebellion against the Holy Spirit.
6. Arbitrary Pressure in Decision Making
A. A. Shtele declared before the vote that if the decision about reorganization was not voted for, he supported by other leaders of the congress would have to stop the work of the delegates and would dismiss the congress. This is confirmed by the notes of congress protocol.
On the basis of the violations mentioned above, we, the signatories, regard the decisions, accepted by the congress of West Siberian Conference dated by 15-16 May 2002 as illegal ones. In accordance with that we consider the leadership of newly formed missions and the missions themselves illegal as well. Thus, the current West-Siberian Conference continues to be the only legal organization for state authorities until the new congress of the West Siberian Conference.